Monday, November 15, 2010

What's Happening?

It's been a while. Way too long actually. I've started a few posts but just decided they weren't publishable. I've ignored my computer but am now making more of an effort. I started with Facebook since more of my friends are there. I like the idea of it, but sometimes it was just too much to manage. Playing the games was a HUGE time waster and completely stressed me out when I multi-tasked it into my day. I think giving up Cafemom, Cafe World, and Farm Town has helped make the difference. Instead of sauteing and planting online, I cooked at home and gardened in the back yard. This way I was feeding my family and getting in a little more exercise. Facebook has more of a mix of friends with none of the bitchiness that happened frequently on Cafemom.

We are still working on managing MIL's care. I have a little more help now that she goes to the Senior Center twice a week. One of my SIL's comes and gets her for lunch, and someone takes her to church also. I've been using this time to grocery shop, run general errands, have a little family time, and help out at the Princess's school. She (the Princess) started Kindergarten in the fall and is doing well. She likes school but you can tell that it's a lot for her. It's all day/Mon - Fri. By Thursday she is tired. Very, very tired. She is also still dancing once a week. Right now we think this is about all she can handle.

Happy Girl started high school this year. She's been working hard as well. She ALWAYS seems tired. She isn't playing a sport this fall since she went up a level in all her classes. (We asked her not to play anything until second quarter. We wanted her to get a firm idea of what her work-load looked like before she had to add time management to the mix.) She missed it but used the time to work on grades AND her social life. There were football games to go to, parties to attend, and sleepovers to arrange. It's been wild around here. (Maybe that's why she is so tired. LOL!) She's managed to overdo some of it and push a few boundaries as well. I know teens are supposed to do this but some of it has been BEYOND what is acceptable and she's been grounded as a result. I hope her brain finishes rewiring itself soon. It's been so stressful for ALL of us.

As for myself, I've been trying to keep up with everyone else. I still struggle with balancing everyone else's needs since they are so different from each other. I'm managing but it isn't easy. The summer was just such a disaster and I wasn't able to take any time for myself. I'm doing a little more of that now. I just came back from a scrapbooking weekend at Kalahari. I haven't been scrapbooking much lately and it was desperately needed to get myself kicked into motion. ANY motion was better than what I was accomplishing by myself. (Which was nada.) I am 2 years behind instead of 1. I am trying to look on the bright side: 1.) I am still scrapping seasonally (Which brings me joy. I LOVE scrapbooking autumn events in the autumn, Christmas in the winter, etc...) AND 2.) I am set up with supplies to get seriously caught up over the winter. (I wasn't scrapping but I was still keeping organized and have some fun events to work on with all the stuff to finish them.) I suspect I was too depressed to work on fun, summer events from 2009 while being "grounded" during the summer of 2010. I think because I waited, my layouts will be a better quality. I don't feel quite as sad as I did before. The help I've been getting has definitely helped. MIL and myself.

We've passed both girls’ birthdays. Neither had a friend party this year but we celebrated with a joint family party in early October. (A friend of mine commented that her girls only have a "friend" party every other year. I thought it sounded like a great idea.) We invited a few close friends to the family party and enjoyed ourselves. Halloween is also finished. The Princess had a class party on Friday (which I was in charge of and was both fun and fast) As a family, we celebrated on Sunday with a potluck gathering of neighbors and some trick or treating. Starting earlier in the day worked out well. Both girls were in bed at a reasonable time. It was cool, but not uncomfortable if you dressed for being outside (which we did). Thanksgiving is approaching and I have a fun/relaxing day planned for that too. I am also polling the family to see what seasonal activities they are looking forward to. Happy Girl wants to go Tobogganing and outdoors Ice Skating. The Princess likes Ice Skating too and wants to "see" Santa (but not sit on his lap). I am interested in going on a wagon ride at Lake Farm Park, catching a local ballet performance, and taking a car trip to see the lights at Blossom. Mr. Happy wants to visit the tree lighting ceremony and is in for tobogganing (provided happy girl and/or friends will ride with him) and the lights. We also have 2 choir concerts to attend and the Princess's Winter Dance recital to watch. The kids have asked to have a cookie baking day. It's a lot to look forward to.

And for now, I am looking forward to it all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

June and July Updates

Well, it's the middle of July. About a month since the last time I posted. Since then I've discovered the following:

* Mom's behavior - We finally got in to see the Psychiatrist. It was a fairly simple appointment. He talked to her, tested her by asking her questions, asked us questions and came up with a diagnosis. Alzheimer's Related Dementia. He's prescribed some medication to help slow down the disease and we are now working towards figuring out the correct doses. We are also trying to figure out how this level of care will impact our life. My goal is to have a good idea of what is involved before school starts at the end of August. We are no longer able to leave her home alone for any length of time. We used to be able to leave her for a few hours but now I'm not comfortable with that. Her behavior is very erratic (weepy, anxious) and she uses alone time to get into things that she shouldn't and could be dangerous. Fortunately, the meds they prescribed seem to be helping as is the amount of liquids that she is drinking. She doesn't seem as unhappy as before. I suspect all the errand running she is doing now helps as well. I'm concerned for the winter when the snow is on the ground that it won't be as "easy" (hah) to get her in and out of the house. We'll see what happens.

* Socially - I've become more homebound since Mr. Happy is working more hours between the yearly job and the seasonal one and someone has to be home to supervise. I have mixed emotions about it. My neighborhood is pretty terrific and I have been able to take "union breaks" a few houses down the street while enjoying some terrific conversation with our friend Mrs. Auntie C. This summer has really brought ALL the kids outside and it seems our neighborhood is more poplulated that we thought. Princess Happy has more friends her age that live on the block and it's interesting to watch them float from house to house. Our house is pretty popular because of the swingset and kid friendly basement but they also spend quite a bit of time at Mrs. Auntie C's house too. I suspect she has better snacks. Happy girl is quite a social magnet too. On any given day, there are 4-5 friends hanging around playing Band Hero, using the swingset as a base for volleyball or swingkickball (?). Our kiddie pool is useful for water fights and balloon tosses. Both Happy Girl and the Princess have on-the-go social lives too. Happy Girl hangs out with "The Fish","Tay Tay" and "Mir". They have a group and they travel mostly between Fish's, Mir's, and our house. These are the houses with the most adult supervision so I am happy to let her go. The Metroparks and outdoor pool are also popular hangouts and luckily (for me) within walking distance. The princess (when she is not in the neighborhood) is lucky enough to have friends who will come and get her for a day of fun. She's had her first sleepover out in Medina and loved it. We've also been able to see a few of the movies that are out this summer. Twice my SIL picked up Mom from her hair appt and kept her for the day while we went to a movie and another activity. The princess and I (along with Mrs. Auntie C and Big G) saw "Toy Story 3". Happy Girl, friends, and I saw "Eclipse". I enjoyed both movies and my girls were happy to have some one on one time with mom (if you don't count all the friends that came with us).

* Sports - Both girls have played ball this summer. The princess has enjoyed her season of T-ball. Big G was on her team and the two of them really learned a lot this year. The games I have been able to go to have been filled with interesting conversation with Mrs. Auntie C and Mr. Uncle D and some cute antics from the kids. Mr. Uncle D and I have even been drafted to "coach" a game (along with 2 other parents) when the coach had to stay late at work. (That was REALLY interesting and made me glad the games are only about an hour). Happy Girl's team is pretty amazing and is one we lucked into at the last moment. I had signed her up for a slow pitch team in the spring but all her coaches from the fast pitch teams later told me that wasn't a good idea. It would erase any skills she learned from the spring. Another parent from the school team told us about EFP and we were lucky that they needed more players this summer. This group starts playing the previous fall but fortunately Happy Girl knew enough about the game that she was allowed to play. They are all pretty good and are presently in 2nd place. Playoffs start next week. Happy Girls insists that they are the definate #2 team but I heard her coach talking about the first place team on friday and he is more optimistic that they can take them. According to him, they came close to winning the last time they played each other. I guess we'll see next week if he can convince them they are #1. Regardless, it's been a good season and I'm glad she played with them this year.

That's about all for now. We are getting ready to go to a family birthday party this afternoon. The kids are looking forward to seeing cousins that we don't see very often. I am going to take advantage of Mom being out of the house to get a few things done around here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update after 6 weeks...

(Really, I am making more of an effort to be on. It's harder than I thought to "catch up" and get back to the "regularly scheduled program". I suppose I should just jump in where I am but most days I don't know where I am or how I got there.)

Life has been interesting with my MIL these last few weeks. She is 86/87 (papers "aquired" in germany during WW2 have her listed as 86 but she has always said they are a year off and she is really a year older) and has a few health issues. She is legally blind and partially deaf. She has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesteral, seasonal allergies, depression (well given the previous listings, that isn't surprising) AND a determination to live the rest of her life sitting in a chair in her room waiting for what comes next. She will not take an interest in her life as it is now because she is still mourning what she once had. I realize (and sympathize) that outliving the majority of your friends and spouse will do that as well, but she also can add "martyr" to her growing list of ailments. From what I hear amongst the relatives - that ISN'T a new ailment but something she has had for many years. One more thing to add to the list is "Hallucinations". She's had them on and off for the last year. They began last summer but was something that we took them as an indication of dehydration. The Dr. suggested that she drink more water and the more she drank - the less she saw them. It's been a battle (think of the old saying "you can lead a horse to water..." and you pretty much have it nailed.) to get her to drink enough and an even bigger battle to get her to ignore them. She won't. We have been to the dr's. He has ordered blood work, urinanalysis, and an MRI. He also wants her to see a Geriatic Psychiatrist. The blood work, UA, and MRI are done. It's been a problem to get in to see the Psychiatrist. We have discovered they "thought" she had a UTI (Urinary Track Infection) but that result gave off a false positive that had her taking antibiotics for 6 days before they discontinued them. That would be one reasone that she's been hallucinating. Apparently senior citizens have psychiatic issues when things are messed up with their elimination process. Since the dr. said it really wasn't a UTI - then that still doesn't explain why she is still have such vivid and audible visions. He also said she's had a slight stroke at some point, but not in the area of the brain that causes hallucinations. So now we rely solely on the psychiatrist. After I started this entry yesterday, I received a call from Dr. Mihalek (Sp?) and after discussing the situation with him was finally able to get an appointment this month for her to see him. He originally wanted me to take her to the ER so they could "rule out" any physical problems, but I think that I convinced him that since she isn't a danger to herself or others AND is reasonably managable AND that Dr. Frantz has already ruled out any physical issues - a trip to the emergency room would not be a good decision for her. If he wants to admit her directly to the geriatric psych area, then we can do that but he has agreed to an office visit first (provided that she doesn't worsen before then). I am trying to keep her out of there for at least this weekend because she would be terribly upset if she missed the final mass at her church this weekend.

Dealing with her has been eye opening. I realize that some of what she experiences is not her fault. It's something that is going on within her. I try to be more sympathetic, but I also see that she doesn't try to do anything that IS within her control. It's hard watching someone who is just waiting to die. Not just on me, but on the whole family. We seem to be more in the midst of it because she lives with us, but I do see the strain on everyone who comes into contact with the situation. Hopefully this dr. can help her. It would be nice to see her happy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Where in the world is Mrs Happy?

I could say I've been abducted by aliens and couldn't find my way back onto my computer and I wouldn't be completely off topic. Maybe a little crazy? (But that's true also.) I could say I forgot my password to blogspot and that wouldn't be a lie either.

Unfortunately, it's all somewhat true. The Aliens are the children I (allegedly) gave birth to 14 1/2 and 5 1/2 years ago which have all of a sudden developed "social lives". The oldest one has played two sports this year (since last August) and has morphed pschologically into someone that I don't recognize most days as being the sweet little blondie girl that used to hang on me and tell me she loved me ALL. THE. TIME. It's kinda scary to see her in action. She has definate ideas and can't understand why logic would explain why they can't be done the way SHE wants them to be done. Weekly we've had to fight with her to do chores {gasp! The HORROR!} homework, be human or else impose consequences which I've been told "violate her civil rights". (Yes, grounding a 14 year old from her cell phone now is the equivalent of civic abuse not only to her, but to her friends which need to contact her NOW! with the wisdom that only one letter texts can impart. k?) I've been informed that 'in historical times, the slaves always rise up against their abusive masters and overthrow them'. While I've glad she is paying attention in History class, what does this mean, exactly, to her and what kind of a warning is she giving me? (???idunno) Either she will start singing Negro spirituals as she is unloading the dishwasher or I'm going to have to start sleeping with one eye open. Either way it's as scary as what happened to the Gremlins when they were fed after midnight.

The 5 year old has been attending Pre-K this year. 4 days a week we've journey'd to school where she spends 2 1/2 hours with 6 guys, 0 girls, and 1 incredibly awesome teacher. She's learned a lot this year - especially how to play nice with the boys while not giving up on the whole girly girl persona she's been perfecting the last 5 years. She's been able to balance matchbox cars and baby dolls for show N tell without too much disinterest. We've discovered that she thinks she a marvelous magician but that when it comes to Magic tricks - boys are only impressed by the real thing. (And that being laughed at makes her cry.)

4 out of 5 "Happys" had H1n1 last fall. Happy girl managed to get over it in a few days, but Mr. & Mrs. Happy had it consecutively with 103.5 fevers lasting 5 days each. Mr. Happy burned up all his sick time and Mrs. Happy wished she had someone in to cover her sick days when she was finally well enought to crawl the steps and observe the condition of the house. (Not pretty - it ate up another 6 weeks to get caught up on Thanksgiving/Christmas and didn't finally start to feel normal until January/February.) The princess had it worst of all. She ended up having complications from either the virus or allergies that gave her 105 temps for several days straight and several painful ear infections that either developed while on or wouldn't go away after 3 rounds of severe oral antibiotics. It took giving her 3 consecutive days of antibiotic injections to clear up the mess. And that brave girl still went back to see the dr. after 2 weeks and received her flu shot, H1n1 (just in case it really wasn't H1n1),and the rest of her kindergarten shots (4 total) I'm amazed she is still speaking us AND will walk into the dr's office.

And admittedly - I forgot my password to blogspot and was just too fricking exhausted from all of the above to try to recover it. I haven't really been anywhere online and I am just now getting around to changing it. It's not uncommon for me to have 3-400 emails waiting for me to sort (Thanks previous online shopping vendors - I love the 3-4 emails you each send me daily telling me to buy what you think I need.)

It's been a wild and crazy ride the last 10 months. Spring is here and I am extrememly glad that winter and fall are behind us. I don't know what is in store with summer coming up, but hopefully it will be less crazy/chaotic and more recognizable than last fall/winter. Maybe, but somehow I doubt it.